For the last several MidState Series Late Model races whoever led the race for the majority of the 75-lap main event has not made it across the finish line first. That changed last Saturday night at Tri-City Raceway when Series leader Jason Jefferson grabbed the early lead from pole-sitter Chris Cunningham and went on to his tenth win of the season.
At the drop of the green flag on the start, and with top-qualifier Jefferson in mid-pack as the result of an eight-car invert, Cunningham powered his way to a 10-car lead on the field within six laps. But a caution flag came out and collected the pack to a single file restart.
Within four laps, Jefferson made his way to second place by moving under Rod Schultz going into turn one. While working on Cunningham for the lead the two racers went at it side by side for several laps before Jefferson took the lead for good on the backstretch of lap 20.
All the while, Brandon Riehl, currently second in the standings, was hot on Jefferson’s bumper and challenged him for the majority of the race. The two competitors built leads of up to eight seconds on the field, but Riehl was never able to close on Jefferson and had to settle for the runner-up position. They have won 18 of the 21 races during the inaugural season of the very successful MidState Series, which also includes Limited Sportsman.
For the Limited Sportsman side of the card B.J. Tidrick outlasted a tremendous effort by Rod Schultz, Jr. to capture his ninth win of the season and sixth out of the last seven races.
Beginning the race in toward the rear of the field due to an eight car invert, Schultz began to move quickly on the leaders, but ran into trouble on the front-stretch of lap five. Attempting to better his position, Schultz was moving on the outside of another car when they came together, sending Schultz to the pits.
Even though he lost several laps while in the pits, once he returned to the half-mile tri-oval, Schultz served notice that he had the fastest racer out there. By the time the 40-lap main event passed the halfway mark he had regained a couple of laps, but ran out of time when the checkered flag fell, giving Tidrick the victory.
Even though he posted a sixth place finish, though, Schultz still remains at the top of the MidState Series standings due to not missing a race during the season and garnering 21 top-ten finishes out of 21 races. While Tidrick has been able to win six out of the last seven races, Schultz has never been more than two or three places out when the checkered flag fell. And with three races left in the season only 40-points separate the two drivers.
Also on the schedule were the Foreign Stocks who put on a great show during their 30-lap main event. Jeff Jones, who was the top qualifier (20.060) and the winner of the A Trophy Dash, took the lead within ten laps, and maintained that position until he crossed the finish line.
MidState Late Models: 1. Jason Jefferson, 2. Brandon Riehl, 3. Mike Zamora, 4. Kelly Mann, 5. Chris Cunningham, 6. Rob Touchette, 7. Brad Rhoads, 8. Jerry Markee, 9. Alden Hamilton, 10. Brian McCoy, 11. Ed Thomsen, 12. Rod Schultz, 13. B.J. Tidrick.
Top Qualifier: Jefferson (17.894)
A Trophy Dash: Mann, Hamilton, Riehl, Jefferson
B Trophy Dash: Markee, Zamora, Cunningham, McCoy
MidState Limited Sportsman: 1. B.J. Tidrick, 2. Jesse Brown, 3. Kriss Clark, 4. Bill Jones, 5. Randy Marshall, 6. Rod Schultz, Jr., 7. Ted Wilburn, 8. Brian Lambert
Top qualifier: Schultz (19.922)
A Trophy Dash: Schultz, Tidrick, Clark, Jones
B Trophy Dash: Marshall, Lambert, Tim DeWeese
Heat Race A: Tidrick, Clark, Jones, Schultz
Heat Race B: Lambert, Marshall, Wilburn, DeWeese